County’s Young Entrepreneurs to compete at Regional Final on January 31st

Two young entrepreneurs from County Kilkenny are going head-to-head with entrepreneurs from County Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow at the Regional Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which takes place on January 31st in Wexford.

 Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny will be represented at this year’s Regional Final by:

  • Mel Clohosey, (Right in picture) age 33 from Urlingford, County Kilkenny with his business proposal SocialFeedia in the Best Idea Category
  • Leanne Nolan, age 35 of Vow2Wow – a specialised award–winning freelance bridal hairstyling service with plans to expand into a hairdressing academy will be in the Best Start- Up category.

IBYE County Winners 2017

On January 31st, three finalists will be selected by the judging panel to compete at the IBYE National Final in March, one from each competition category.

So far, 180 talented entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland, aged between 18 and 35, have been awarded a total of €1.5 million in investment funding through the Local Enterprise Offices, after winning or becoming runners-up in IBYE County Finals.

This initiative for young entrepreneurs is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide, and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The investment awards will be used by the young entrepreneurs to help fund business start-ups, create new jobs locally or to help develop new products for international markets.

As part of the supports on offer through the competition, more than 400 young entrepreneurs around the country benefited from boot-camp training sessions in which they were put through their paces in every aspect of how to start and develop a business.

Announcing details for the Regional Finals, The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D, said:

 “This competition highlights that Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.  Our young entrepreneurs are the employers of the future, and are the backbone of the Irish economy. This investment will help all their businesses to grow and flourish and in turn will create and support more jobs throughout every region. I look forward to meeting more of our incredible entrepreneurial talent from around the country at the next stage of the competition.”

The competition attracted a record number of entries, with 1,842 applying in total and 185 applying from the region. Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise (Acting) with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny, wished local category winners the best of luck at the Regional Final, saying:

“We see the IBYE initiative as an important springboard for our young entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a business. The 180 entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland who share €1.5 million in investment funding, which include our County Winners and Runners-up, can now make their business ideas and expansion plans a reality in 2017. It’s also about nurturing entrepreneurs through bootcamps, training, networking and mentoring, with job creation benefits throughout the region.”

On January 31st, the young entrepreneurs are hoping to follow in the footsteps of the three 2015 National Finalists from the region:  Blaine Doyle of GlowDx in Kilkenny in the Best Business Idea category, Diarmuid Byrne of EquiRatings in Carlow in the Best Start-Up Business category, and James Keogh of Rathwood in Wicklow in the Best Established Business category.

The region has enjoyed considerable success in the competition, as both Blaine Doyle from Kilkenny and James Keogh from Wicklow won their respective categories, clinching ‘Best Business Idea’ and ‘Best Established Business’ in 2015.

More details about the competition and the supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through and from the IBYE website at